Gemba is a Japanese term that means ‘actual place’. Gemba is a word for a concept that we all recognize, but for which there is no word in the English language.
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‘Going to the Gemba’ means heading for where the work is done and the value is created.
That is, physically going to the part of an office, factory, process, or supply chain where the problem lies, to understand it fully. The military calls this the ‘Ground truth’.
You cannot do that remotely.
Too often, as project managers, we can get stuck behind a desk, computer, or Slack channel. But if you really want to understand your project, you need to go to where the work is being done… the actual place… the gemba.
Some Romanizatons represent the Japanese word as genba.
Genchi Genbutsu means: ‘Go, Look, See’.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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